Infiniti Moves Back to Japan
Nissan Motor Co’s premium brand, Infiniti, will relocate back to Japan as part of the automaker’s commitment to restructuring its business in a post-Ghosn existence. The luxury arm was moved to Hong Kong in 2012 in order to better prepare itself for entry into the Chinese market. However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand.
Considering most of the R&D work stayed in Japan and Chinese growth has been slow, representing about one-tenth the annual volume Cadillac sees in the market, this is likely wise decision. Infiniti claims it can maintain its focus on China from Japan while also prioritizing America — where it sells far more vehicles. Meanwhile, Nissan also hopes to regain control over its own operation after posting a rather ugly earnings report earlier this month. The financial hurt is expected to spill over into next year.
As a byproduct of the move, Nissan also feels that it will be in a better position to electrify the brand. “This connection is crucial as Infiniti ramps up development of its battery electric and e-Power offerings,” the automaker said in its corporate announcement. “This move also will help increase efficiencies across the business in a hypercompetitive, disruptive industry.”
Nissan previously said that its luxury division would move toward becoming an EV-focused brand starting in 2021 — with every subsequent model playing host to a purely electric drivetrain or e-Power hybrid system. However, Infiniti’s introductory electric (based on the Qs Inspiration) was supposed to be produced by and for the Chinese market. That’s something which may no longer stand due to tepid regional interest in the brand’s existing products, adding to the compelling case for Infiniti to move out of China.
Customers can also expect more shared platforms between the brands. While Infiniti will continue operating independently, common vehicle architectures are supposed to become more prevalent in the coming years, reducing part costs and streamlining development. It’s also aimed at bringing up the core brand in terms of technology without skimping on R&D funds for Infiniti. Ultimately, Nissan believes moving its luxury arm back into Japan will be beneficial for all parties.
The automaker says its Hong Kong headquarters houses roughly 180 employees at present, adding that those who can not be relocated to Yokohama will receive some form of assistance.
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What parent company? Infiniti is not a separate company - it is just a fancy name for some Nissan (mostly RWD) models for US customers who like fancy names. All Infinitis in Japan are branded as Nissans. Have no idea what mean "HQ in Hong Kong". Is it a marketing division? Because Nissan HQ and R&D are in Yokohama.
"However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand." Corp-speak for: We don't want to pay the rent. For all his faults, though, Johan is smart. He doesn't want to bump into the boss every day and have to explain why his XYZ car division isn't doing well.